Monthly Archives: March 2018

Preview: City Council agenda (March 27)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: A pretty light agenda.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Boards and Commissions: The Council will vote whether or not to appoint Richard Duffy to the Elections Commission and reappoint J. Martin Shanahan to the Citizens Advisory Council.
  • Rand Whitney Expansion: The Council will vote whether or not to grant 2 easements to Rand Whitney Container as part of that company’s “$20M expansion project at 207 Greenwood Street and 1 Agrand Street.”
  • Street Sweeping: The Manager reports that street sweeping will soon resume. “The Arterial Sweeping Program will begin on Monday, April 2, 2018. Street sweepers will work from 11:30pm to 7:30am Monday through Friday and will sweep major arterial streets throughout the city. We anticipate that it will take up to three (3) weeks to complete street sweeping on major arterial streets. The Residential Spring Sweeping Program will begin on Monday, April 9, 2018, weather permitting and will take 10-12 weeks to complete. Property owners of both, residences and businesses are asked to assist us by cleaning their sidewalks in advance of the street sweepers. The residential street sweeping schedule follows the trash collection routes with sweepers working 7:30am – 4:00pm daily Monday through Friday. Crews will start in the Friday trash collection area and then progress to the Thursday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday areas.”
  • Replacing South: Held over from last week, the Council will vote on a $194,646,240 plan to build “a replacement South High Community School at 170 Apricot Street, to include the demolition and environmental remediation of the existing school.”

Preview: City Council agenda (March 20)

There wasn’t a meeting last week, so the agenda is almost identical to what you’ve seen before. Any agenda additions or changes are small. I’m including last week’s writeup here in case you missed it.

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Weed, South, conservation, crime.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Replacing South: The Council will vote on a $194,646,240 plan to build “a replacement South High Community School at 170 Apricot Street, to include the demolition and environmental remediation of the existing school.”
  • Holden Conservation Restriction: The Council will vote to spend $95,000 on a “conservation restriction” on some land near to the reservoir where we get our water. Because of collaboration with other groups, 50 acres of land will end up with conservation restrictions.
  • 2017 Crime Stats: The police chief has a report on last year’s crime stats. Every kind of crime except “disorderly conduct” declined vs. 2016, in some cases more than 30%.
  • Weed As Always: Can the Council limit the number of weed stores to 3 per Council district? The City Solicitor responds, “No.” Potential locations are marked in purple on the map below.
  • Flavored Tobacco: Can the Council restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes? The Health Commissioner says “Yes,” and recommends they be restricted to adult-only sales locations.
  • The Bus: The WRTA Director has a report detailing the ins and outs of proposed service cuts. People continue to organize against these cuts and for increased bus funding.

Some WRTA notes

There have been lots of articles about the WRTA and its financial situation. I’ve found them frustrating because they don’t put the numbers in a context where they make sense to me. At long last, the WRTA administrator’s report has been posted online [PDF], and from that I’ve made some notes to help me out. Here are the notes; please let me know if there are any errors and I’ll correct them.

  • Massachusetts has 15 regional transit authorities.
  • The Worcester Regional Transit Authority has 37 members and a service area of half a million people. Worcester city has a 40% vote on the WRTA advisory board.
  • For FY2018 the WRTA anticipated a $1.1 million deficit, so June 2017 made service cuts and increased fares for the first time in 8 years. We saw ridership drop 13%. (Nationally bus ridership has dropped 10% lately.) We may still have a $200k shortfall.
  • Here’s a financial breakdown for FY18. Total operating costs are estimated at $25.7 million. 22% of this is paid by the federal government, 44% by the state government, 18% by the local governments, and 15% from fares.
  • Massachusetts is keeping its WRTA funding the same for FY19, so we anticipate a $900k deficit. Which is to say a 4% deficit. The current proposal is to cut service beginning this summer.

Preview: City Council agenda (March 13)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Weed, South, conservation, crime.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Replacing South: The Council will vote on a $194,646,240 plan to build “a replacement South High Community School at 170 Apricot Street, to include the demolition and environmental remediation of the existing school.”
  • Holden Conservation Restriction: The Council will vote to spend $95,000 on a “conservation restriction” on some land near to the reservoir where we get our water. Because of collaboration with other groups, 50 acres of land will end up with conservation restrictions.
  • 2017 Crime Stats: The police chief has a report on last year’s crime stats. Every kind of crime except “disorderly conduct” declined vs. 2016, in some cases more than 30%.
  • Weed As Always: Can the Council limit the number of weed stores to 3 per Council district? The City Solicitor responds, “No.” Potential locations are marked in purple on the map below.
  • Flavored Tobacco: Can the Council restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes? The Health Commissioner says “Yes,” and recommends they be restricted to adult-only sales locations.
  • The Bus: The WRTA Director has a report detailing the ins and outs of proposed service cuts. People continue to organize against these cuts and for increased bus funding.

Preview: This week’s Worcester School Committee meeting

And no, I can’t go and liveblog; I have a meeting myself that night!


The Governance subcommittee meeting is reporting out, including a clarification that, yes, students can use cell phones at after-school events.

There are appointments, resignations, and recognitions.

There is a brief report on the EPIC grant on a pipeline of teachers.

There is a request for a report on Earth Day participation; a request that the Future Teachers program be expanded; for a report on school libraries.

Administration wants the Committee members to get back to them on co-sponsorship of items earlier (by Thursday noon).

There is a request to accept an innovation pathway grant for Worcester Tech; to approve prior fiscal year payments of $6,366.84 for Seven Hills Groton, MA Pediatric Center and of $4,396 for Durridge Radon Implementation; to accept donations of $10,000, on behalf on the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), for scholarships to graduating seniors, $25,000, on behalf of the Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, for the Hanover Insurance Academy for the Arts at Burncoat Middle School, $350, on behalf of the Boston Museum of Science, to Woodland Academy for bus funding for the student’s field trip to the museum.

Oh, and Worcester F&O, as we mentioned, is being nationally recognized for being awesome again.

There is an executive session for a worker’s comp case, and for bargaining with administrative secretaries.

Preview: City Council agenda (March 6)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Weed, dogs, tax breaks, the usual.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Making Streets Public: The Council will vote to make a bunch of streets near Assumption College public streets. These are Knapp Ave, Myrick Ave, Pelican Ave, Phoebe Way, and Toronita Ave.
  • Removing Tax Breaks for Wage Violations: Councilor Bergman wants to know if the city can “deny or terminate” tax break (TIF) agreements for developments when “employee wage violations are present.”
  • Nationally Legalized Weed: Last week, there were a bunch of items about restricting marijuana retailers in the city, including a proposal from Councilor Mero-Carlson that there could be three weed stores in each Council district. This week, Councilor Lukes wants the Council to vote on whether they want our US Congressman and Senators to remove marijuana as a controlled substance from the U.S. Code.
  • Dog Licensing: In 2010, the city began issuing lifetime dog licenses. Now that dogs are allowed in some city parks, the City Clerk would like to go back to annual licenses and dog tags that are a different color each year, so enforcement officers can easily check which dogs are currently licensed. I don’t understand this item.
  • Stop Making Your Own Driveway: In an item held over from last week, Councilor Rosen wants people to stop making DIY driveways that take away curb parking and encourage people to drive back and forth over the curb.